Greeting from England!
Things are going well and we are very busy. No sitting around watching the grass grow for us! We are enjoying England and love working with the people.
So… Starting from Last Sunday..
Sunday August 28th. We drove to the neighboring town of Wembley. They have a famous Stadium there which is really cool! The chapel is in a residential area just a couple of streets from the stadium. The chapel is a compact two story building with Offices and classrooms on the bottom floor and a large open room and a kitchen on the second floor. The multipurpose room has a stage on one end and a stand with podium and organ set into a notch on one side. The benches or pews have wheels so they can be moved around as needed.
The ward was wonderful! Very multicultural with some of the missionaries and a couple of others being the only Caucasians. There were 22 nations represented in the ward. The missionaries were from South Africa, USA, and France. The spirit in their meetings were wonderful. The Bishop is a wonderful shorter balding black man with bright gold teeth. He was so willing, humble, kind, and loving. He and his wife just had twins plus he has three others. He drives a grey Mercedes just like Dad’s but with only seats for five. He makes two trips to church to shuttle the family! He had us get up and introduce ourselves and bear our testimonies. We could really feel Heavenly Father’s love in that meeting. It is a small ward but everyone was so happy and excited to be there!! We met most of the members who were in attendance.
After the meeting, we visited the Senior Sister missionaries, Sister Wallace and Sister Jackson who help with the Wembley ward. We had a chance to share dinner with them and four young adults from the ward. Two returned missionaries, one young man (18 years) who is struggling a little in school (six foot tall 280 pounds), and one Young Adult who is learning a trade in construction. He is having problems getting a job. Very friendly young man who can tell you everything about different models of cars.
Monday, after exercising, we were off to Wembley again for the ward BBQ. The party was to start a noon and go until 4pm. We arrived just before noon (Elder Baron has a funny thing about being on time!) and found the Bishopric cooking three large grills full of meat. The Bishop told us that he tells everyone to be there at noon so he can eat starting at 1pm. Sounds like Mormon Standard time. By 1pm there were people everywhere! What a party! They cooked chicken wings, chicken breasts, hamburgers, sausages, and ribs. The ward members brought salads, rice dishes, Fruit, cakes, 15 kinds of drinks, chips, etc. etc. They played games and visited. We met a cute 5 year old black girl named Joyce. Everyone called her “Joycie”. Even members from the two adjacent wards were in attendance. Eight Young Missionaries there. About a dozen YSA kids from Wembley and Hayes. What a beautiful loving group of people! Amazing!
We left about 3:30pm after Elder Baron had to try all the different meat dishes! We found a parking spot, bought a small transformer for the home phone and walked to explore the Wembley Stadium. Huge! We plan to catch a football (soccer) game there sometime. Returning home, we joined our Elders in a dinner appointment with a young mother, Anna Marie. Mom helped prepare the food while dad entertained the missionaries with stories. Good humble, hard working people who have their priorities straight! Anna Marie asked Dad to give her a blessing which he was happy to do. She is doing an internship as an attorney.
Tuesday, we went for a walk, exploring bike trails around our part of town. We are looking for two bikes for exercise and transportation without parking problems. We have about decided that we need to order new ones and sell them before we return home. We invited the Young Sisters over for a waffle supper. They were so very happy but were praying for some help. They both asked Elder Baron to give them blessings for health issues and comfort. Of course, we were happy to help! They are working so hard and are so very sweet and loving. They have additional responsibilities as “Sister Training Leaders”. It is like being a Zone Leader as an Elder. We suggested that they leave their bikes with us and we would give them a ride home and they jumped at the chance! We love missionaries!
Wednesday, we found two used bikes for sale in the neighborhood so we called and then walked over. We met a cute little lady with two older bikes with flat tires (or tyres in England). While Dad checked them over and pumped up the tires, I visited with her. Her husband is the Church of England Minister in the area. The bikes worked very well considering their age so we purchased each for 35 pounds. She gave us three bike locks, three helmets, two bike pumps, and two bike lights along with the bikes. The bike sizes are just right and the gears work well. Dad reworked the bikes and we cleaned our house. We replaced the brake pads and seats (we found one for 5 pounds and another one at a discount TK Maxx store!).
Thursday, We got up early and walked to the tube station to catch the 8:40am train. After two transfers we arrived at Westminster Abbey and Parliament. We took a guided tour which was excellent! We toured the House of Lords (like the US Senate) and the House of Commons (Representatives). It was interesting to learn of their system of government and the history of sharing power with parliament and the King or Queen.
After the tour, we went to Westminster Arms Pub for some British Fish and Chips! We then took the Rick Steves walking tour to Trafalgar Square and the National Portrait gallery. Lastly we stopped at the mission office, picked up a printer, took care of some business, and visited the office missionaries who will be released soon.
Friday, we took a great bike ride around the canal, park, and a golf course. Then we were off to Wembley again for a Missionary zone meeting. Twenty young missionaries brainstorming and learning. Sisters Wallace and Jackson baked bread and served hot bread, jam, peanut butter, and honey. It was a hit!
Saturday, Another great bike ride on the biking trails (500+ year old trails). After we got cleaned up we were off to the Watford ward BBQ. Again we were on time and no ward members. The church owns lots of land around the chapel with grass, extra parking, and a wilderness area that goes down to the Grand Canal. The canal runs from London to the North of England and is part of a network of 2000+ miles of canals. It has mostly cute narrow house boats on it now. They have many locks that are hand operated. The church has a fire pit area where they cooked burgers and sausage. Fun treats and good people. Very different from the BBQ earlier in the week but still good with good people.
That evening we traveled to a Poundland store (Dollar Store) to buy treasures for YSA games and treats. Fun!! We even found ping pong balls on half price! They escorted us out of the John Lewis store at 7:30pm so they could close!
That’s all for this week!
We love our family and miss you all very much! We are really getting to love the dry humor, honest answers, and loving nature of the British people. We love the diversity of cultures and the wonderful adventures we are having. We do not love the driving and roads but we are doing okay!
Doing business with the government and stores can be a challenge and very time consuming but all is working out! Our dishwasher broke a week ago but Dad put a temporary fix on it using a mop handle so we are getting along just fine!
Love you all!!
Mom n Dad, Joyce and Clark, Grandma and Grandpa Baron, Elder and Sister Baron.